Sound — 7
Christian rock band Skillet have been playing the music scene since the late '90s. Their hardcore sound, similar to those formed around the peak of the grunge rock music era, immediately caught the ears of metalheads, and following the release of their self-titled debut album in 1996 Skillet began to build a worldwide fan following. Since their debut, the band has gone on to release a total of now nine studio albums, and it wasn't until most recently that Skillet's music has started to received considerable recognition. Their 2006's album "Comatose" showed the band significantly lowering the use of synthesizers and bringing the heavily distorted guitars higher in the mix. It was this seemingly simple change in musical composition that broadened their audience, and following its release soon charted Gold and was even nominated for a Grammy award.
Their latest, titled "Awake," showed the band staying consistent to this preset pace, and was certified Platinum, as well as won multiple prestigious awards. And with their new studio album, "Rise," fans will find Skillet revisiting some of their earlier elements, while also staying in the direction more evidently showcased in their past two records. The opening track, which also bears the same name as the album, is a mix of early and more recent Skillet, with broad orchestrations, synthesizer playing, raging lead vocals and broad vocal harmonies. From a musical standpoint, the new album heavily resembles the sound of bands such as Flyleaf and Paramore, mostly because of the dueling screaming male vocals and soaring female backup singing. Overall, I felt that the album failed to meet its preset expectations, but still was a very good album that fans of the genre and the band should be able to appreciate.
Lyrics — 5
Lead singer John Cooper is most frequently featured throughout the new album, while drummer Jen Ledger is found popping up seemingly from nowhere at times with her backup singing that doesn't work too well with the piece as a whole. I would have liked to have more consistent mix between the two vocalists throughout the new album, I feel as though that would have greatly benefited the album from a musical standpoint. Lyrically I found Skillet's new album very lacking. As shown throughout such songs as the aforementioned title track, the vocalists simply repeat one phrase over and over again in the chorus, such as "Rise / Rise and revolution / Rise / Rise and revolution." When instrumentally the songs were enjoyable to listen to, lyrically they held the entire piece back, and this prevents the entire album from being able to easily transition from song-to-song when the lyrics are a consistently weak factor.
Overall Impression — 7
With "Rise," Skillet give a commendable performance as part as the actual music goes, by combining the synthesizer elements of their earlier work with the most recent guitar oriented style showcased in their past two studio albums, most likely in an effort to keep up their current RIAA certified album streak. While instrumentally the album is standout and enjoyable to listen to, the repetitive lyrics and out-of-place backup singing are an unignorable factor that holds back the entire album. This album comes recommended to established Skillet fans, as well as general fans of the alternative metal genre. If you can look past its lyrical side, then "Rise" will be an album you'll find yourself going back to listen to time and time again.